There are two types of stretches - dynamic and static. We recommend you perform both on a regular basis and in addition to your running and fitness program. Dynamic stretching is best performed at the beginning of a workout because it preps your muscles for power, which you need for a run or any type of fitness class. Static stretching is best for post workout because it allows your muscles to lengthen and rest.
Run about 1 mile and then perform the following dynamic stretching exercises (do each over ~20 meters):
- Forward/Back Leg Swings
- Side to Side Leg Swings
- High Knees Running (or High Knee March)
- Butt Kicks
- Lateral lunges
We know you are busy and that stretching sometimes takes a back seat to showering, eating and relaxing post run. With that in mind, and knowing how we use to train, we created a guide to stretching for the busy runner. We recommend stretching the key muscles by performing the below stretches for 10-30 seconds immediately after your run. Do these BEFORE you go inside (unless it's really cold or rainy) so there's no option to forget.
- Chest: Interlace your fingers behind your back and move both hands down and away from you to stretch the front of the body.
- Hamstrings: Stand with feet together, bend your knees and slowly bend forward. Relax your neck. Slowly bend one leg and then the other to stretch each hamstring.
- Hips: Hold onto a railing for balance and cross the left ankle over the right knee. Sit back like you were sitting in a chair to stretch the whole hip area. Repeat on the other side.
- Hip Flexor: Step your right foot back and bend your left leg so your knee is directly over your ankle. Push back through your left heel to stretch your left hip flexor.
- Quadriceps: Hold onto a railing for balance. Bend your left leg so your heel moves towards your glutes. Grab the outside of the left foot with your left hand. Bring your knees into alignment, keeping the knee pointed straight down and back straight. Push your hip forward and bring your foot away from your body for a deeper quad stretch.